Report Says IOC Fires Berlioux
In a surprise move, the International Olympic Committee on Sunday asked for the resignation of Monique Berlioux, its director and chief executive officer for the past 14 years, IOC sources said.
The decision to fire Berlioux, who has played a leading role in planning and organizing all Olympic Games since 1972, was taken at a closed meeting of the nine-member IOC executive board, the sources said.
The board met under IOC President Juan Antonio Samaranch of Spain, whose only comment was: “It is much too early to say anything.”
The decision to dismiss Berlioux is said to be the result of years of growing and often visible friction between her and Samaranch.
Their disputes reportedly came to a head after Samaranch, who has been in office since 1980, decided to settle in Lausanne, Switzerland, the IOC headquarters.
No official announcement was issued pending agreement on a financial settlement. The 60-year-old director’s salary has never been revealed.
At a news conference, Berlioux neither confirmed nor denied that she had been asked to resign, but she stressed that there were three years left on her contract.
Asked if she had offered her resignation, Berlioux said: “Not for the time being. My contract runs until Dec. 31, 1988. It is not the first time I have heard such rumors.”
Berlioux did announce that the executive board recommended to the full IOC session to include badminton, women’s judo, baseball and women’s softball for the first time among full-ranking Olympic events at the 1988 Games at Seoul, South Korea.
The executive board is in East Berlin to prepare for the annual session of the full 90-member committee. The meeting starts Tuesday following a formal opening ceremony to be addressed Monday by East German President Erich Honecker.
Under the Olympic charter, the appointment of the director is the responsibility of the executive board.
The board named a three-member committee consisting of Prince Alexandre De Merode of Belgium, International Court Judge Keba Mbaye of Kenya and Berthould Beitz of West Germany to work out a settlement with Berlioux for breaking her contract.
Executive board members, speaking on the condition they would not be identified, said the decision to fire Berlioux was irrevocable and only the date of her departure and her financial settlement remained to be worked out.
The three members of the special committee refused to comment.
Some IOC members suggested that Berlioux sometimes showed a pro-French bias, but many paid tribute to her energetic leadership.
Sources said it was likely that the board would choose her successor among candidates with a more neutral nationality.
Born in Metz, France, Berlioux joined the IOC in 1967 while press chief of the French Ministry of Youth and Sport.
She was named director in 1971 and played a crucial role in Olympic planning.